Fonterra shareholders have delivered a damning assessment of their elected Shareholders Council.
Submissions to its survey closed on May 19. Feedback will be now reviewed by the nine-member steering group.
Group chairman James Buwalda says the group got feedback from “across the spectrum”.
“As the survey has only just closed, I haven’t had a chance to review the feedback received yet,” he told Dairy News last week.
“But I am pleased with the responses overall and the time taken by farmers to provide their feedback.
“We got feedback from shareholders and sharemilkers, across all regions, from different sized farms, as well as people who have been supplying Fonterra for different lengths of time.”
The review of the 25-member elected council follows concerns raised by some shareholders at last year’s Fonterra annual meeting.
Some shareholders want the council scrapped, suggesting they could have a leaner organisation monitoring the co-operative’s performance on behalf of its 10,000 shareholders. The council costs about $3m a year to run.
The steering group has shareholders representatives, two Fonterra directors and two councillors. It hopes to deliver a final report to shareholders in August.
Buwalda says the group will now review all the feedback in detail. Analysing the scores people gave for the questions posed by the group and the written comments people have provided.
“We expect to be able to highlight the issues people are most concerned about and to build a deep understanding of why they hold these concerns,” he says.
“Following that analysis, we will identify possible options or changes before going back to farmers to get their feedback on the issues, options and possible changes that can be made.”
The steering group has been meeting via video conference due to Covid-19 restrictions.
Buwalda says this has worked well so far.
“The review process must have integrity and strong farmer engagement.
“We are constantly looking at how best to carry out this review in light of the constraints imposed by the Covid-19 restrictions.”